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With 2 years to go, here’s how the U.S midterm results will shape the 2020 campaign – National




The Democrats may have won one of the key battles of the U.S. midterms but can they win the 2020 war?

Despite reclaiming the House of Representatives from Donald Trump‘s Republicans on Tuesday, the Democratic Party still faces an existential dilemma that will shape both how it prepares for the 2020 presidential campaign and how the party tackles the looming responses expected from Trump to any obstruction.

“The politics of the next presidential election begin today,” said Roland Paris, an associate professor of foreign policy at the University of Ottawa.

READ MORE: The most outlandish political attack ads of the 2018 U.S. midterms

While the midterm elections boiled down to a referendum on Trump himself, the next two years will force the Democrats to take a critical eye to their own party and in particular, whether they want to be seen as a party defined by their opposition or by their vision in terms of real policy alternatives.

How and when to oppose Trump will be a major question for the Democrats in that context.

WATCH BELOW: Trump says Democrats want ‘socialism’ in the U.S.

And given the president’s mercurial and combative nature, it isn’t clear yet how he will respond to concrete opposition to his policies.

“This would be very different for President Trump. He would face for the first time an energized, competing centre of power in the form of a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives and it’s hard to know how he would react to that because he hasn’t faced that situation before,” Paris explained.

“On the other hand, he’s more tactical than strategic and he responds to shifting circumstances, sometimes very unpredictably. I would think there would be some initiative from the Democratic House leadership to demonstrate they are not just about obstructing, they are about governing.”

WATCH BELOW: All the wins and losses of the midterms

Since the party’s defeat in the 2016 campaign, Democrats have been facing tough questions about where the future of their party lies.

In short, does the path to a 2020 victory run along the far left or closer to the centre of the political spectrum?

READ MORE: The age of Trump is sparking a rise in socialism among Democrats

Already, underdog socialist candidates have scored major upsets against more traditional Democrat candidates.

Most notably, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated 10-term Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley earlier this year and her victory quickly sparked speculation that it was evidence of a generational divide between older and younger Democrats grappling with where the party should go next in response to the populist wave that sent Trump to the White House.

WATCH BELOW: Major upset in New York primary could signal a shift within the Democratic Party

However, the question is also whether a harder turn to the left could alienate centrist voters.

That will be a dilemma the party needs to face down as it decides how best to use the next two years in control of the House of Representatives to its advantage.

READ MORE: Democratic socialist Julia Salazar wins Democratic primary in Brooklyn

Key among the issues that could face the party will be how to react if a third Supreme Court vacancy comes up during Trump’s third and fourth years, given the tight margin of Republican control of the Senate and the 33 Senate seats up for re-election in 2020 that could face steep political pressure from their constituents to not further tilt the court.

READ MORE: ‘Where to vote’ in Spanish tops Google searches on midterm election day

Such an opening would further cement the conservative leanings of the court, already tilted significantly with the confirmation of controversial judge Brett Kavanaugh last month — a major concern for Democratic voters given the very real risk a conservative court will overturn the landmark abortion rights ruling, Roe v. Wade.

“My bet is if something happens in the third year and he picks somebody, the Democrats may choose to drag it out but I’m not sure that would happen the way Republicans did in the last year of Obama, around the [Antonin] Scalia seat that they nominated Merrick Garland for,” speculated Colin Robertson, vice-president and fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

“It is possible but that’s a question mark. The Democrats would then have to do what they were so bitter about the Republicans doing, and they may choose to in turn do that. Hypocrisy is not something that bothers either party.”

Former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016 and former U.S. president Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland as his replacement in March 2016.

WATCH BELOW: Trump praises Supreme Court justices Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas

Republicans, however, had won control of the House of Representatives and the Senate in the 2014 midterms and refused to confirm Garland, whose appointment would have tilted the court to the left from the tied 4-4 balance between conservative and progressive justices remaining after Scalia’s death.

By refusing to confirm Garland for the entire last year of Obama’s presidency, the Republicans were accused of stealing the nomination, which fell to Trump to fill shortly after his inauguration with Justice Neil Gorsuch.

One thing that is unlikely to change despite the shift in power from the midterms is the president’s rhetoric towards those who oppose him.

And that means one core thing for the 2020 campaign, said Robertson.

“I think he’ll run against Congress, which is what presidents often do when they’ve got a divided House,” he said.

“He’ll blame the Democrats for everything that goes wrong, if they’re in control of the House. That’s a tried and true formula.”

The 2020 U.S. presidential election is scheduled for Nov. 3.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu

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Harris accepts VP nomination



Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself



Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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